Stanford Basketball beats Washington State Cougars 72-56

Stanford went into Pullman and beat the Cougars thanks in large part to the Return of Beast Mode Michael Humphrey















Washington State








                Cougars on a losing streak can get used to rejection.  Certainly that was the case in Pullman on Thursday, as Stanford unleashed an armed and fully operational Michael Humphrey, who dominated early and often in leading Stanford to its 13th win of the year, a 72-56 road win that was close for an early stretch of the second half, but for the most part was Cardinal controlled coast-to-coast.

                As they did in their win over Oregon, Stanford got a strong first half from Rosco Allen (10 points) and a strong second half from Dorian Pickens (12 points) and that combined with Humphrey’s overall brilliance (26 points, 10 rebounds, four steals, three blocks, 10-15 shooting) was more than enough to overwhelm a game pack of Cougars.

                Humphrey looked better than he has in a good long stretch, stepping into passing lanes, getting out in transition and finishing, cleaning up second shots, hitting jumpers, and scoring in the paint.  It would appear he’s approaching full health, which is critical for a Cardinal team with still no real expectations on a timetable for Reid Travis’ return.

                Tactically, Stanford once more relied on its 2-3 zone and especially in the first half, it was very effective.  Washington State’s first half efficiency rating was 77.4, and while that number increased to 97 in the second half, both are more than acceptable, especially on a night when Stanford was getting quality offense from its front line.

                In terms of personnel, Stanford started a lineup that featured Rosco Allen, Humphrey, and Grant Verhoeven, who continues to be the most accurate three-point shooter in college basketball history.  Whistles limited The Pride of the Central Valley, but when the Cardinal slotted in Josh Sharma, Stanford created a ton of length for itself on the interior and deep corners of its zone.

 That length helped cause 13 Cougar turnovers and block four shots.  Stanford ended up +10 in points off turnovers, a margin that held up in the final score.  As usual, Stanford was very secure with the ball, only turning the ball over eight times the entire night, and though they didn’t force as many turnovers as normal, they capitalized on the ones they did.

It should be noted that this game was not played at a very high pace, and the Cardinal shelved its extended and trapping defenses for most of the evening.   The Cardinal can surely expect a much more uptempo game in Seattle than it got in Pullman.

It’s hard to put too much stock in a win over the most putrid team in the entire conference.  Washington State entered with the worst offense and defense, and they played to those numbers.  However, a win’s a win, and there is no aesthetic criteria to road wins in conference.   Michael Humphrey said after the game that the NCAA Tournament is still a goal inside the locker room. It’s a bit premature to really break down that expectation, but it’s good to see that the team hasn’t written off the season at this point.

The last two games have been a pleasant oasis in what had become a very rough stretch of season.  Seattle has been a nightmare for even Stanford’s best teams, but now that they’ve taken the Lost Weekend out of the realm of possibility, perhaps the Cardinal can Swipe Left on the desperate Dawgs the same way they did the Cougars. 

If last night’s version of Michael Humphrey shows, I like their chances. 

The Bootleg Top Stories